Tanzania VP hints that Magufuli could be unwell

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Tanzania Vice President Samia Suluhu has hinted that President John Pombe Magufuli (pictured) might be unwell.

Speaking in Tanga on Monday, Suluhu urged Tanzanians to remain united and ignore rumours on Magufuli’s state.

Suluhu said “ni kawaida ya binadamu kukaguliwa…mafua…homa…chochote kile“, loosely translated to mean  it is “normal for someone to go for routine checkups for flu or cold”.

Two officials on Friday said Magufuli is in good health and working normally, after reports that he had flown abroad in critical condition with Covid-19.

Magufuli, 61, is Africa’s most prominent coronavirus sceptic. He has not been seen in public since February 27.

Tanzanian opposition leader Tundu Lissu, who left for Belgium after disputing his election defeat to Magufuli last year, has said the president was flown to the private Nairobi Hospital in Kenya and then to India in a coma.

However, Prime Minister Kassim Majaliwa denied that, blaming the narrative on “hateful” Tanzanians living abroad.

German coronavirus infections are spreading exponentially, up 20% in the last week, an expert at the Robert Koch Institute for infectious diseases said on Tuesday, adding that the risk of AstraZeneca’s vaccine was relatively low.

“We are exactly on the flank of the third wave. That can no longer be disputed. And at this point we have eased the restrictions and that is speeding up the exponential growth,” RKI epidemiologist Dirk Brockmann told German ARD television.

Merkel and state leaders agreed a phased easing of curbs earlier this month along with an “emergency brake” to let authorities reimpose restrictions if case numbers rise above 100 per 100,000 on three consecutive days.

On Monday, the number of cases per 100,000 rose to 83, up from 79 on Sunday and 68 a week ago, and the RKI has warned that metric could reach 200 by the middle of next month.

Germany on Monday suspended use of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine, making it the latest of several European countries to hit pause following reports of blood coagulation disorders in recipients.

The decision followed a recommendation from the Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI), Germany’s authority in charge of vaccines, following seven cases of thrombosis, including three deaths.

Brockmann said it made sense to explain the relative risks to the population, noting that 1,000 people in a million had died of COVID-19, compared to possibly 1 in a million from complications associated with the vaccine.

“In the risk groups, the risk of dying of COVID is much, much higher. That means it is probably 100,000 times more likely to die of COVID than because of an AstraZeneca vaccine,” he said.

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